Outlining its commitment to the bilateral talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka to solve the fishing disputes in the Palk Strait, Tamil Nadu Government on Friday, however, blamed 'premeditated' stance of the island republic officials for parleys making no headway at the end of second round in May this year.
Referring to the two rounds of talks held between the fishermen representatives in Chennai and Colombo in January and May respectively, Fisheries Minister KA Jayapal informed the state Assembly that "there was an agreement," in the January 27, 2014 meeting here, but did not elaborate.
"The subsequent meeting was held at Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 12, 2014. The Colombo talks could not make any headway due to the premeditated stance of the Sri Lankan officials," he said without divulging further details.
The state government was 'committed' in continuing the fishermen level talks, initiated by it and the Central Government, he added.
Jayapal said a total of 506 fishermen from the state arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and 76 fishing boats have been released this year as of July 8.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has written 48 letters to the Centre since AIADMK came to power in 2011 seeking its intervention whenever instances of Indian fishermen being apprehended by the Lankan navy was reported, he added.
Announcing a series of measures for fishermen, he proposed taking up a study for the establishment of fishing harbours at Ennore (near Chennai) besides Cuddalore and Nagappatinam districts. A study on the technical and scientific feasibility will be taken up at an estimated Rs four crore, he said.
He also proposed overseas training for Fisheries department officials to know latest techniques in fishing and announced an allocation of Rs 70 lakh for this purpose in 2014-15.